The Portrait of Me: An Autobiography [Writer’s Craft Assignment]

#1 BLABLA Times Bestseller







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Praise For:
The Portrait of Me

Ms. Scholl
Author of Onions just don’t make you cry

Tralala Stars

-Canada Today


Text Copyright June Hur
Excerpts of writing in this work are in their original, unabridged state.
All Rights Reserved

Printed in Canada


Chapter One

Fact: All excerpts of the stories I wrote presented in this autobiography are original.
Nothing has been corrected or altered in any way, be it the grammar or typos.


During my childhood years, I hated to read, I hated to write, but I loved to borrow books. I would frequent the library with my mom and younger sister every Saturday. There, I’d spend hours scavenging the bookshelves looking for the books with pretty covers. I’d borrow it, read a few pages, and then get bored of it.

The only book I remember having truly enjoyed was the one I had read in grade 5, titled, ‘The Magician’s Nephew,’ by C.S. Lewis. Hooked, I read the sequel, ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,’ which I enjoyed even more. However, the following Chronicles of Narnia disappointed me. And so I fell back into the period of Literary Depression that had me borrowing tons of books yet never reading past a chapter of it.

Somewhere during the start of grade 7, I went to Indigo with my dad and he recommended Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, which he then bought for me. I loved it so much. I began to read the other books written by Bronte, then the ones written by her sisters–Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I borrowed more books written by authors in the 19th century, and I admit to have skimmed through most of them. Nevertheless, I was still interest in these classics even though I barely understood half the book itself. I loved their customs, their fashion, their society.

Around this time, I ended up watching the black and white version of ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ I instantly fell in love and rented the 1995 BBC adaptation of it and also read the book. I ended up in a state of obsession that no words could describe, but only witnessed by the big stack of papers, where I had written the continuation of Pride and Prejudice. Writing sequels to this love story had become my guilty pleasure. Instead of doing my homework, I would write, until my dad came in to check up on me, which was when I’d quickly cover the paper with a homework sheet and pretend to be studying hard.

Being that this was the first time I tried to write a story, it read like this:

It had been two week since their marriage. Elizabeth Darcy was still witty, lively, young, and beautiful as ever. Darcy was also young, and witty, clever, and handsome. Jane once told Elizabeth that she thought that Darcy had become less proud, inscrutable, and taciturn. However, still Elizabeth knew that Darcy still had them, but she had to admit Darcy had improved since their marriage.


Chapter Two


I finally urged myself to read the other novels written by Jane Austen. Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were the two that made me fall madly in love with the Regency Era (1811-1820). And this love for the early 19th century England was kindled even more as I found and read Young Adult romance novels set in that same time period.

Then to my horror I one day discovered that I had read all the historical romances in the Juvenile section. My head slowly turned to the ‘Forbidden Area’–a.k.a the adult section where historical romance books have women with their dresses falling off them, embraced in the arms of half-naked men.

Led out of desperation to read more Regency romances, I snuck over to the romance rack where Innocent me had never dared to go before. I borrowed the book which looked safest. And to this day, I still remember who the author had been, thought I can’t recall the title: it was by Johanna Lindsey and the cover of the book had a pretty manor on it. It looked like a very decent read.–But oh lord was I in for a shock.

The book was fine, very romantic, until the chemistry between the protagonists began to intensify. That was when my eyes practically fell out in horror. I was like: ‘WHAT? You can write about characters ‘doing it’ in BOOKS? WHAT?’

After the shock wore away, I continued to borrow more Harlequin romances. I would finish reading them in less than a week. And after reading almost twenty romance novels a month, I began to write my own. The first original romance I wrote and completed was titled ‘Sinful Desire,’ which wasn’t all that sinful, as I found myself too embarrassed to emulate the naughty content of the books I’d read.

The completion of this story was followed by several other works which I abandoned after a few chapters. The next story I completed, titled ‘A Rose for Eleanor’ was about a heroine who got amnesia, was being chased by a man from her past, and found sanctuary in the protection of a “wealthy, titled, tall, handsome, brooding rake.” Here is an excerpt of the story I wrote in ’04:

“Where am I?” she asked in a barely audible voice.

“In my estate, madam.” He looked into her clear blue eyes…The blue eyes…”Where do you live?”

No reply but silence came from her.

“Your home? Where is it…do you hear and understand me?” he asked slowly.

“I am neither deaf nor witless – I heard you quite well and understood you just the same – the problem is…I do not know who I am.”

He stared at her in surprise then slowly nodded his head as the information was completely absorbed into his mind and he understood what might have become of this poor lady. “You have amnesia….”

“I – guess so…do you think that I shall be able to find my past again?” she asked.

“I am sure you will – well I hope you will, madam. It would be quite awkward to live a life without a past.”


“May I ask for your name?”

She took a long minuet to rake her mind for the answer. “Ah! Yes…it is…El…Eleanor…Grenville.”

“Miss Grenville….I see.” He glanced down at her blue eyes, “Is there by any chance that you may like – roses?” he asked suddenly.

She shook her head. “I do not know…I do not think I do – roses have thorns…and I remember – that I had been pricked by them many times.”


Go ahead. Laugh. I’m laughing too. Ha ha ha.


Chapter Three

In the summer of ’04 I moved to Korea with my family. There, I was stuck in school for most of the time (in Korea, high school started at 8:40 a.m. and ended at 11p.m.) so I was unable to write as much I wanted. The more I was deprived of my time to write, the more my passion for it grew. And so I would write whenever I had spare time—I’d write in class, since I barely understood what the teacher was teaching as I didn’t know Korean much, and I’d write the moment I came home to the hour I went to sleep.

I continued to write Regency-set romances, all of which I later abandoned, quickly losing interest in them. This abandoning of stories became an bad habit of mine. One day I decided to try writing a story based on this one scene I’d had in a dream years ago and had remained imprinted in my mind—A prostitute in a brothel, flirting yet feeling miserable, and then stunned when a gentleman enters,  come to redeem her from this life. From this one scene I contrived a whole plotline which I planned to write in 10 chapters, fearing I’d abandon it if I wrote any longer. But 10 chapters turned into 15 and 15 into 25 chapters consisting of 90,000+ words. This story, I titled it, ‘The Runaway Courtesan.’:


(Revised, current version)

As he walked down the street, the heels of his boots rang against the cobbled ground that glistened in the rain. The dim street lamps did little to ward away the growing darkness of the evening, leaving his countenance a dark mystery. Only when the cheroot he was smoking glowed of brilliant red did it light his features enough to reveal a pair of deep-set gray eyes.

The gentleman slipped a miniature portrait out of his pocket and inspected the face of a young woman, no older than sixteen. It was not a beautiful face, for it was too narrow, the cheeks too prominent, the chin too pointed, and the jaw too squared. But her lack in appearance was easily substituted by the restrained animation that seemed to brim over in her clear brown eyes, and her lips, arched at the corners, as if she were secretly amused by something.

Reaching the threshold of a cheap-looking brothel—the small letters above the door read “Harleton House”—he carefully tucked away the portrait. Finally, after all these months, he had found her.

‘She should be two-and-twenty by now,’ he thought, as he dropped the cheroot and ground it with the back of his heel. The glowing stub hissed under the pattering rain. He raised his fist and knocked on the door of the brothel.

The keeper of this rat’s nest opened it partway, and as soon as she saw how expensively the stranger was dressed, her demeanour, which held the sentiment ‘What the devil do you want?’ instantly changed to wariness.

He touched the brim of his hat in greeting and said, “I’m here to speak with the mistress of this house.”

“Aye. I’m she.”

The door, being ajar, left a frame through which allowed him a better view of the woman’s fat body, her powdered face, decorated with a patch at the corner of her lips, and the crowd of harlots and drunkards behind her.

She called to him with emphasized politeness, “Sir?”

“Madam,” said he, as he pushed against the door, which the woman reluctantly opened. He stepped in, and the laughter and cajoling that had moments before filled the brothel immediately turned into hushed murmurs. The debauched creatures stared at him as he walked past them, the brothel madam shuffling behind.

A plump hand grabbed his arm, dirt lining the crescent of the nails. “Oh, look at ‘em legs,” cooed the woman, eyeing his figure. “Never saw such long ‘n lean ones in the whole course of me life.” She ran her hand up and down his chest. “I wouldn’t mind a pair of ‘em wrapped around me.”

He glanced at her yellow teeth, outlined in black and framed by her smiling red lips. He peeled her fingers off, and walked on. “Good lord,” he murmured under his breath.

Disgusted, he began to worry that Amanda Hollingworth might have turned out to look like that. His eyes roamed about the place, searching for the face from the portrait. Seeing no one similar, he turned to look at the madam, and said, “I’m looking for an Amanda—” and he added, that nothing should hinder his scheme “—I took an interest in that chit. What is she, eighteen? Seventeen?”

“Two and twenty, sir,” she replied. “Amanda might be a sweet lass, but she’s no beauty. We’ve got girls who know how to properly please a man,” she added, grinning, even daring to nudge Lucas with her elbow. But the grin faltered when she was subjected to his indifferent stare.

“No, I’ve come for Amanda, no one else,” he replied, and to nullify any suspicion, he offered her a bag of coins which would be a fortune to a woman like her. “Now, where is she?”

Snatching the coins from his hand, the madam called out in a stentorian voice, “Amanda! Amanda!” A pause. “Amandaaaaa.” Another pause ensued before followed by a sudden: “Ah! There she is. D’you see her, sir?”

Lucas scanned the crowd. In the far corner of the brothel, he saw the face from the portrait: the common brown eyes, the brows which were oblique, dark slashes across her white skin, her long cascade of dark brown hair. She wore a vulgar red dress and white threaded stockings. Her countenance no longer held the vigour and sparkle which had so defined the girl in the painting. Whatever had stolen the youth from her had transformed her features to sharp angles. Perhaps it was the awful stench of the brothel. He wouldn’t have been surprised.


Half of the story of mine had been written to fit in with the romance trend of today: the woman meets a handsome, wealthy man à attraction sparks  à the man seduces the woman  à man somehow breaks woman’s heart  à woman leaves and man goes through an Ah-Hah-I-Love-Her epiphany  à man pursues woman  à wins woman  à then they live happily-ever-after. But after I branched out of these paperback romances and rediscovered my interest in literature, I changed my storyline.

A few of the books which made a change in me as a writer was Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, Atonement by Ian McEwan, Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey, and The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. I also read semi-love stories that inspired me, like Madam Bovary, Middlemarch, and Jane Eyre (which I had read before, but on the second read, it had a bigger impact on me).

All these books had influenced me greatly while I was writing the latter half of ‘The Runaway Courtesan.’ After completing this manuscript, which took a year, I began to revise it, rewriting several scenes, dialogues and narrations which I thought were lacking in some ways.

I’m still revising my story to this day, and have been for several months now. After hearing of the great works which took several years for writers to publicize—like The Poisonwood Bible and the script of my recent favourite movie The Lives of Others—I was motivated to rein back my eagerness to publish. So I plan to revise for as many months or years it takes until I feel that my work will be viewed by the public as something more than just “another adult romance” that’ll go out of print in a year, stacked away among the other forgotten love stories.


—The End—

My silly made up Biography of myself [Writer’s Craft]

June Lehmann (nee Hur) was born in South Korea on March 14, 1989. She lived in Korea for but two years before her family moved to the states then to Canada as her father pursued his studies in theology. From birth to grade eight she was known to have hated writing. So, how she ended up, by high school, with her passionate aspiration to become a writer is yet a mystery many researchers have yet to determine. But since high school, she began to vigorously pursue her dream to become an author

 After graduating from university, Lehmann left the country as NGO’s Sociologist to South Africa where she survived through floods, tropical forests and swamps. There, she met a journalist, John Lehmann, whom she later married. They both moved back to Canada where she began to write and soon  published her novel, The Lady Scorned. Her debute novel gained little attention and was criticized for being “historically incorrect” and “too sentimental.” After witnessing her novel being stacked away in the forgotten end of the stores, her husband claimed she had had a psychological breadkdown. She was sent to recover in the psychiatric hospital where she was kept for several years. After her breakdown, even the slightest criticism against her novel rendered her into a harmful behaviour.

Nevertheless, Lehmann continued to write while confined in the hospital. On the publication of her second novel, Far From Sanity, a feat made possible by the help of her husband, it instantly won international acclaim, selling more than 1 million copies, and being translated into several languages. Her following books were praised for its realistic portrayal of the human mind and emotions, and critics claimed her to be the most distinguished novelist of the century.

However, in the autumn of 2034, just after the release of her fifth and most notable romance book to date, The Runaway Courtesan, Lehmann escaped from the psychiatric hospital. All investigations failed to find her. She left behind a husband, family, and her dog named Lord Lucas Candover. Her disappearance remains one of the greatest mysteries unsolved to this day.

The Theory of Silence (Writers Craft Assignment)

The Theory of Silence

She fears the Silence—that wordless, noiseless moment between herself and others. It is a period when they begin to asses her with their beady black eyes, forming judgments, and leaving her in a nervous flutter. Cold sweat moistens her temple. Her fingers feel like icicles hanging from her palm. She taps her feet anxiously against the floor, rummaging her mind for something, anything, to say. She needs to make noise, any kind of noise, to ward away this silence. For example: when only one word is needed, she will say ten; when only a smile is needed, she will break out into hysterical laughter. It is her method of distraction. She is afraid that others might look past the laughter and words, past the distraction, and for once, notice her—and see that she isn’t much after all. And she, herself, is afraid that this silence will press its cold hand onto her skull and push her gaze down to see herself. Always a heinous sight it will be, all bruised and cut, torn where once stitches had been. And she will grieve for this neglected part of hers, so ugly compared to others—or so she thinks. But not for long; the sight of it is too much. And so she will look up again—to force out laughter and talk, to forget. Anything—anything to distract—anything not to think—anything not to see.

The Coffee Maker (Writers Craft Class Assignment)

 * The first draft was written because my cousin told me to write about a coffee maker. Then I revised it and used it for my writers craft’s  10 journal entry assignment



I woke up. It was time to go to work. Ugh, I needed coffee.

I struggled out of bed and went to the kitchen. I poured water into the coffee maker, fitted a filter into it, then, as I scooped in four spoons of ground coffee beans, I smiled as the scent of coffee filled my flaring nostrils. Ahhhh. How could I live without coffee? If I didn’t have coffee, I wouldn’t be able to step out of the apartment without falling asleep even before I locked the door.

  The smile froze on my lips when I switched on the button that brewed the coffee. It didn’t light up red as it usually did. I switched it off, then on, then off, then on, and then off and on again with a growing speed and desperation.

  I screamed. Or I think I did. My heartbeat was thumping so loudly in my ears that I couldn’t hear anything.

  This can’t be happening, I told myself as I checked every nook and cranny of the coffee maker to see what was wrong. My head was screaming: I NEED COFFEE, I NEED COFFEE. The nearest coffee shop was miles away in the opposite direction of my workplace, and none of the convenience stores nearby sold coffee the last time I had checked.

  I racked my mind for a solution of how to get my coffee, and then my brain lit up with a brilliant idea. Some might have considered my idea to be stupid and illegal, but I preferred to call it . . . daring, rash, adventurous, brave.

  I dressed myself and with the bag of ground African coffee beans between my arm and side, I stepped out into the balcony of my apartment. My neighbour, who is a complete stranger to me, lived next to me with a metal partition to separate our balcony territories. Leaning over the railing that kept me from falling to my death, I looked over to my neighbour’s side. All was clear.

  Carefully lifting myself onto the railing, I balanced myself gripping onto the edge of the partition. I took a deep breath and stretched out my right leg far enough for my feet to rest onto the railing next door. Still holding onto the edge of the partition with the bag of African coffee bean between my arm, I managed to shift myself all onto my neighbour’s side of the balcony. My knees wobbled. Afraid I’d faint backwards and end up splattered on the grass far below, I quickly jumped down to the paved floor of my neighbour’s balcony.

  My heart brimmed with triumph and my victorious smile stretched from one eye to the next. I held the handle of the balcony door and it was yielded open easily when I tugged. I walked in, glancing from side to side lest anyone see me. I silently apologized to the unseen owner of the apartment for having stepped in with my shoes still on. The house was dark, I could hear snoring somewhere in the other rooms. I crept into the kitchen.

  I swore harshly and angrily stomped the floor when I couldn’t find a coffee maker anywhere. What sort of specie was this neighbour of mine who didn’t even have a coffee maker? Did he/she/it not drink coffee then? Shaking my head in wonder, I pondered what to do next.

  I looked about the stranger’s home and ended up finding bedcovers neatly folded up in the closet. I took it, let it loose with a shake, then tied it tightly into a knot after knot to the railing. I tugged hard at it a few times before climbing over the railing then lowering myself down to the next floor.

  I jumped down into the balcony, slid the door open, and walked in. Slowly, with my heart pacing so fast that I thought it would jump out and run away, I made my way over to the kitchen. I could hear drum rolls in my ears when I stepped in. I held my breath, looked around, and my sigh of relief came out like a wave when I saw a coffee maker on the counter. It looked so majestic, sitting so elegantly by the sink.

  Smiling and humming I brewed myself some coffee. Pouring it into a random cup nearby, I took it, left a note to the owner that I would return the cup back in the evening, and took it out the door with me. I sipped it, then let out a sigh of complacency.

  “Now I can start my day,” I said to myself.  


Stream of Consciousness (Writer’s Craft Class Assignment)



Stream of Consciousness:

How June persuaded herself out of buying boots



I need to buy boots. How much are boots anyways—about $120 at Eaton Centre. I think I’ll buy myself a nice black pair. But wait a minute—do I have $120 to spend? Yes, I do; in fact, that’s all there is in my bank savings (excluding the two dollars in my checking account). Why do I need a savings account anyways? I never save anything. Every dollar disappears within two weeks. I should work more. So much more that I’ll have thousands of dollars lying nice and cozy in both my accounts. But right now I only have enough to buy boots. Damn boots. I’ll be walking about in boots that cost $120—do I want to spend that much anyways? Divide the cost by my minimum wage and that equals the rounded sum of fourteen. Do I want to buy boots that will cost me fourteen hours of boring labour at Mandarin? Fourteen hours of walking back and forth, round and round the friggin’ restaurant. Fourteen hours of smiling till my cheeks tremble and ache. Fourteen hours of repeating over and over again, like some broken record, as I bring customers in: Hi, how are you? Fine? Awesome. Yes, I’m doing well myself, thank you. And have you been to Mandarin before? Nice. Then just a friendly reminder, the washroom is right over there. And since we’re very busy tonight there’s a time limit of an hour and forty-five minutes. This way please. You’ll be dining in Room C; and your table for tonight is right over here. Enjoy your meal. Do I want to spend fourteen hours of saying these lines for a pair of black boots? Why do I need boots that cost $120 anyways? I can go to some thrift shop and buy a pair of boots that’ll keep my feet relatively warm for $10 or less. Granted, they’ll be ugly—but ugly for whom? For me? And why should I care whether they’re ugly or not? As long as they’re warm, isn’t that what matters? No. Because I’ll be bothered by the thoughts of what others will think of my ugly boots? Why should I care about what others think? Because the ugly boots might be a turn off to guys? What? What? What guy? I’m a nineteen-year-old in a high school where more than half its male population consists of immature boys. See, there are no guys to look pretty for. So why spend $120 for a lost cause? And do I need boots to attract a guy anyway? Why would I want to attract a guy who would be turned off by ugly boots? How shallow is that. So, why should I spend $120 for the worthless, artificial affection of such a guy? I need a MAN who will look past the ugly boots and see me for who I am. There. I don’t need nice boots. I’ll go to a thrift shop and by myself a warm, ugly, comfy pair.


It’s good to live like this—it’s good to live economically, simply, and unadorned. Now, I have $120 sitting in my savings account.—Maybe I’ll go to the mall and buy myself a nice purse with that.